GIOVE-B launch timeline: what happens and when

26 April 2008

After a successful launch rehearsal, GIOVE-B is ready for the final countdown. Here is the planned sequence of events from launch tower retraction until the end of the launch and early orbit phase. There will be live web streaming of the launch (23:25 - 00:30 CEST), spacecraft separation (03:55 - 04:15), and acquisition of Earth pointing mode (06:55 - 07:18).

Time from liftoff
Time CEST/Paris
-00:30:00 23:46:02 Start of service tower retraction

The tower enabling access to the Soyuz and its payload begins to move away from the launcher.
-00:20:00 23:56:02 End of service tower retraction

-00:07:00 00:09:02 Autonomous upper stage initialised and switched to internal power

Fregat is prepared for launch and running on battery power.
-00:06:00 00:10:02 Fregat autonomous upper stage declared ready to launch

-00:05:20 00:10:42 Key on start

Final count down operations.
-00:02:35 00:13:27 Umbilical drop-off

The umbilical links between the launcher and tower are disconnected.
-00:02:05 00:13:57 Lift-off command (launch non-reversible)

The command for lift off is given.
00:00:00 00:16:02 Lift-off

00:00:08 00:16:10 End of vertical path, start of pitch turn

After climbing vertically for eight seconds, the Soyuz turns downrange.
00:01:52 00:17:54 Transition of the lateral boosters to the intermediate thrust level

The four boosters attached to the Soyuz central core reduce power in preparation for separation.
00:01:58 00:18:00 First stage separation

The four first stage boosters separate and fall away.
00:04:13 00:20:15 Fairing jettison

The fairing, or nosecone, that has protected GIOVE-B and Fregat as Soyuz climbed through the atmosphere is discarded.
00:04:46 00:20:48 Third stage ignition

The engine of the Soyuz third stage is started.
00:04:47 00:20:49 Second stage separation

The lower central core of the Soyuz drops away.
00:08:49 00:24:51 Fregat separation

The Soyuz third stage separates. Fregat and GIOVE-B continue in ballistic (unpowered) flight.
00:09:49 00:25:51 Start of Fregat main engine first burn

To reach the final orbit, several manoeuvres are needed using the re-ignitable Fregat main engine.
00:10:08 00:26:10 Fregat main engine cut-off

The Fregat main engine is turned off. Fregat and GIOVE-B return to ballistic flight.
00:20:16 00:36:18 Exit from Russian station coverage area

Fregat and GIOVE-B move out of range of the Russian ground station network.
00:38:15 00:54:17 Start of Fregat main engine second burn

The second burn occurs autonomously, out of sight of the ground stations. There is no telemetry data.
00:48:05 01:04:07 Fregat main engine cut-off

00:48:15 01:04:17 Injection onto the transfer orbit

Fregat and GIOVE-B reach the orbit that will carry them to GIOVE’s destination.
00:51:56 01:07:58 Entry into ESA Santiago station coverage area

01:52:07 02:08:09 Re-entry into Russian ground stations coverage area

02:07:40 02:23:42 Start of telemetry reception for second burn status

Information about the second burn is downloaded from Fregat
02:27:40 02:43:42 End of telemetry reception

03:36:05 03:52:07 Fregat main engine third burn

Fregat uses its main engine to transition from transfer orbit to GIOVE-B's target orbit.
03:40:05 03:56:07 Fregat main engine cut-off

03:45:05 04:01:07 GIOVE-B separation from Fregat and orbit injection

The Soyuz mission is complete. GIOVE-B is on orbit and will perform its launch and early orbit phase operations.
04:13 04:29 Start of solar array deployment

GIOVE-B begins to unfold the solar panels that will generate it's electrical power.
05:12 05:28 Confirmation of solar panel deployment

The solar arrays that generate power for the spacecraft have been successfully unfolded and are generating power.
06:34 06:40 Stable Sun pointing after separation

Confirmation that GIOVE-B is steering itself using the Sun.
08:14 08:30 Transition to Earth pointing mode

GIOVE-B begins to steer itself using the Earth (rather than the Sun) as a reference.

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